b. 01/12/1920 Dublin, Texas. d. 10/02/1952 Sinuiju, Korea.
DATE OF MOH ACTION: 10/02/1952 Sinuiju, Korea.
George Andrew Davis Jr. was born in Dublin, Texas, on December 1, 1920. He was the seventh of nine children born to George Davis, Sr. and Pearl Love Davis. In his childhood, Davis briefly lived in Maple, Texas. Davis attended Morton High School in Morton, Texas. Davis then attended Harding College in Searcy, Arkansas. After completing a degree, he returned to Texas. He took up farming for a time with his family before eventually deciding to join the military.
On March 21, 1942, Davis enlisted in the United States Army in Lubbock, Texas, just after the US entry into World War II. On June 3, he was appointed an aviation cadet in the Army Air Corps. He was moved to Kelly Field in San Antonio, Texas for pre-flight training, which he completed in August. He was then moved to Jones Field in Bonham, Texas for primary flight training. During this training, he got his first 60 hours of flight time aboard a Fairchild PT-19 trainer aircraft. Then, he flew for another 74 hours during Basic Flight Training in Waco, Texas and a final stint of training aboard the T-6 Texan at Aloe Field in Victoria, Texas. On February 16, 1943, Davis completed his training and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the US Army Reserve, and immediately ordered to active duty with the Army Air Forces. By this time he had accrued 314 hours of flight time.
Davis’ first assignment was the 312th Bombardment Group based at Bowman Field in Louisville, Kentucky. There, he was qualified to fly the P-40 Warhawk fighter plane. He was trained there until August 1943 when the group was ordered to the Pacific Theater of Operations. During his World War II service, Davis flew in 266 missions, accruing a total of 705 combat hours and destroying seven Japanese aircraft. For these exploits, he was awarded the Silver Star, two Distinguished Flying Crosses and nine Air Medals. By the end of this war, Davis had accrued over 2,200 hours of flight time.
After the end of the war, Davis served in a number of administrative positions in the United States. On August 10, 1945, he was assigned to the 556th Air Base Unit at Long Beach, California. On August 24, 1946, he was offered a commission as a first lieutenant in the active duty Army Air Corps, demoting him from his temporary rank but effectively allowing him to stay in the military in spite of the demobilization and downsizing of the US military. Several weeks later on September 7, Davis was ordered to the 554th Air Base Unit in Memphis, Tennessee, where he served on one of the Army Air Corps aerobatic demonstration teams, the predecessors to the United States Air Force Thunderbirds.
Davis returned to front line units on January 6, 1947, when he was moved to the 71st Fighter-Interceptor Squadron, 1st Fighter Group. He remained with this formation for most of the year. On September 18, 1947, the United States Air Force was created as a separate branch from the US Army. Davis was commissioned as a captain in the new branch. During his time with the 71st Squadron, Davis attended Air Tactical School and Tyndall Air Force Base. He was also a flight commander and air inspector while with the unit.
Upon the outbreak of the Korean War, Davis continued to serve in the 71st Squadron and did not see combat in the initial phase of the war. As it progressed, however, Davis began training on the F-86 Sabre (Sabrejet), the latest jet engine-powered fighter. On February 15, 1951, he was promoted to major and in October 1951 he was assigned to the headquarters of the 4th Fighter-Interceptor Wing, which was based in Japan and operating aircraft throughout Korea. As such, Davis was sent to the conflict as a fighter pilot.
On February 10, 1952, Davis flew his 59th and last combat mission of the war in an F-86E Sabre (tail number 51-2752). That day, he led a flight of four F-86s on a patrol near the Yalu River, near the Manchurian border. Davis’ group was part of a larger UN force of 18 F-86s operating in the area. As Davis’ patrol reached the border, one of his F-86 pilots reported he was out of oxygen causing Davis to order him to return to base with his wingman. As Davis continued patrolling with one wingman, Second Lieutenant William W. Littlefield, and cruising at an altitude of 38,000 feet (12,000 m), they spotted a flight of 12 MiG-15s of the Chinese 4th Fighter Division heading in the direction of a group of US F-84 Thunderjets conducting a low-level bombing mission on North Korean communication lines.
The MiGs were 8,000 feet (2,400 m) below Davis and Littlefield and had not noticed them. Without hesitating, Davis immediately flew behind the MiG-15 formation and attacked them from the rear. His surprise attack destroyed one of the MiG-15s, and he quickly turned to the next closest MiG and destroyed it before it could outmaneuver him. By this time, Davis and Littlefield passed many of the MiGs and some that were behind them began firing. Davis then moved to target a third MiG at the front of the formation, but as he was lining up his shot a MiG scored a direct hit on Davis’ fuselage, causing his aircraft to spin out of control. Littlefield said later, that he spotted Davis’ landing gear open, indicating hydraulic failure, and that he attempted to defend Davis’ aircraft as it lost altitude until Davis crashed and died. Littlefield reported he did not see Davis bail out of his aircraft. Davis was declared missing in action and presumed killed. Intense aerial searches of the area later revealed no evidence that Davis had survived the crash. In fact, a week after the incident, the Chinese military searched the region and recovered Davis’ body, still in the crashed aircraft. Despite the Chinese discovery of Davis’ remains, his body was never returned to the United States.
In four months in Korea, Davis had scored 14 confirmed victories, 1 probable victory and 2 aircraft damaged, bringing his career total victory count to 21. Immediately following word of the mission, fellow ace Colonel Harrison Thyng, commander of the 4th Wing, recommended Davis for the Medal of Honor. On April 15, 1953, Davis was posthumously promoted to the rank of lieutenant colonel. Davis’ cenotaph is located in the City of Lubbock Cemetery in Lubbock, Texas. Also buried at this cemetery is musician Buddy Holly and Medal of Honor recipient Herman C. Wallace. In April 1953, Davis’ wife and family received his Medal of Honor from Air Force Chief of Staff, General Nathan F. Twining, at Reese Air Force Base in Lubbock.
Maj. Davis distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. While leading a flight of 4 F-86 Saberjets on a combat aerial patrol mission near the Manchurian border, Maj. Davis’ element leader ran out of oxygen and was forced to retire from the flight with his wingman accompanying him. Maj. Davis and the remaining F-86’s continued the mission and sighted a formation of approximately 12 enemy MIG-15 aircraft speeding southward toward an area where friendly fighter-bombers were conducting low level operations against the Communist lines of communications. With selfless disregard for the numerical superiority of the enemy, Maj. Davis positioned his 2 aircraft, then dove at the MIG formation. While speeding through the formation from the rear he singled out a MIG-15 and destroyed it with a concentrated burst of fire. Although he was now under continuous fire from the enemy fighters to his rear, Maj. Davis sustained his attack. He fired at another MIG-15 which, bursting into smoke and flames, went into a vertical dive. Rather than maintain his superior speed and evade the enemy fire being concentrated on him, he elected to reduce his speed and sought out still a third MIG-15. During this latest attack his aircraft sustained a direct hit, went out of control, then crashed into a mountain 30 miles south of the Yalu River. Maj. Davis’ bold attack completely disrupted the enemy formation, permitting the friendly fighter-bombers to successfully complete their interdiction mission.
BURIAL LOCATION: BODY NEVER RECOVERED. CENOTAPH IN CITY OF LUBBOCK CEMETERY, LUBBOCK, TEXAS.
SECTION 45, Corner Of Dogwood & Azalia
LOCATION OF MEDAL: FAMILY.